Jesus, the Bread of Life

Pentecost 10 (Proper 13), August 1, 2021

Text: John 6:22–35

Theme: Jesus, the Bread of Life

Other Lessons: Psalm 145:10–21; Exodus 16:2–15; Ephesians 4:1–16

1. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

1. The Gospel lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.

1. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

629 What Is This Bread

3 So who am I,

That I should live and He should die

Under the rod?

My God, my God,

Why have You not forsaken me?

O taste and see—the Lord is free. Amen.

1. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


1. Herman Gockel, in his book My Hand in His, published by CPH in 1975
shares the story of an elderly man on his deathbed.
1. His family has come to be with him.
2. One of his sons is a pastor.
3. It’s Saturday, the next day is Sunday.
4. The man tells his son to go home and preach to his people the
next day.
5. He tells his son that if he dies while his son is gone, his son
will know where to find him.

1. “You will know where to find me.”
1. Imagine dying and living in the kind of faith to say that!
2. Imagine sharing such confidence and assurance with your loved
3. Eternal life is very real.
4. It is life that really matters.
5. It is life that makes a difference.
6. Life in this world will finally fail us.
7. But not the life God gives.
8. Not the life Jesus gives.
9. Jesus says in today’s Gospel:
1. “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food
that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will
give to you. For on
him God the Father has set his seal” (verse 27).

1. Earlier, Jesus had miraculously fed some five thousand people with
five barley loaves and two fish.
1. This was meant to be a sign pointing beyond itself to something
2. This sign is pointing to Jesus as Son of God.
3. It is pointing to the fact that Jesus is the source of eternal
4. That Jesus is “the true bread from heaven.”
5. That Jesus is “the bread of life.”
6. For Jesus, the Bread of Life, Is the Source of Eternal Life.

1. Jesus attempts to move the crowd to see him as the source not just of
earthly bread.

1. Unfortunately, the people around Jesus stayed stuck at the sign, at
the bread, at the free meal.
1. Jesus attempts to move them along, to lift their sights to a
higher level:
1. “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because
you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the
loaves. Do not work for
the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to
eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the
Father has set
his seal” (verse 26–27).
2. They respond with good intentions:
1. “Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the
works of God?’ ” (verse 28).
3. And Jesus answers:
1. “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he
has sent” (verse 29).
4. The work of God, the work God desires of us, the work God works
in us, is not work but faith.
5. It’s not what we do but what God gives us in Jesus.

1. The people had some trouble catching on:
1. “So they said to him, ‘Then what sign do you do, that we may
see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers
ate the manna in
the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from
heaven to eat” ’
” (verses 30–31).
2. They were remembering how God fed his people in the wilderness
with manna.
3. Today’s Old Testament Reading is the backstory to our Gospel.
4. Jesus says to them:
1. “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you
the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true
bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and
gives life to the
world” (verses 32–33).
5. Then, they begin to get it:
1. “They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus
said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me
shall not
hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst’ ”
(verses 34–35).
6. Jesus’ words about never thirsting ought to bring to mind his
words to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:
1. “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,”
he told her, “but whoever drinks of the water that I will
give him will
never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him
will become in him a
spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13–14).
1. Eternal life is God’s gift in Jesus.
2. The bread of life is God’s gift.
3. Jesus is the true bread from heaven.
4. Jesus is the bread of life.

1. Jesus wants us, too, to focus on the higher things he came to give.

1. Jesus’ discourse or sermon on the bread of life goes on to the end of
John 6. We’ll hear more of it over the next two Sundays.
1. At this point:
1. bread,
2. hunger and eating,
3. thirsting and drinking
4. They are all metaphors.
5. Put together, all together, they are all about Jesus and
believing in him.
6. Jesus is the source of eternal life.
7. Believing in Jesus is God’s work in us.
8. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit.

1. As with the crowd Jesus fed, engaged, and taught, we sometimes tend
to stay stuck at the sign, at the lowest level of things, on material,
physical things.
1. We focus on:
1. food,
2. on material things,
3. on the things of our earthly existence,
4. on physical and emotional blessings,
5. and on the comforts of this life.
6. It is for higher things that Jesus came.
7. It is for the purpose of giving and sustaining eternal life
that God gave us Jesus.
2. Life with God, our life with God, has been disrupted and
interrupted by sin.
1. Our deepest hunger, though we don’t always realize it, is
for God.
2. Jesus, in his suffering and death on the cross, and in his
resurrection from the dead, satisfies this hunger, fills
the hole we all
have in our hearts for God.
3. He reconnects us with God.
4. For eternity.
5. As Paul writes in Romans 8:
1. “Nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ” (see
verse 39).
1. Nothing!

1. Bread, despite the bad rap on carbs these days, is a staple of
physical life.
1. It sustains life.
2. It’s the “stuff” of life.
3. It’s with this in mind that Jesus says:
1. “I am the bread of life.”
4. When Jesus was in the wilderness tempted by the devil:
1. when he was hungry,
2. tempted to turn stones into loaves of bread—
3. Jesus quoted words from Deuteronomy 8:
1. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but
by every word that comes from the mouth of God’ ” (Matthew 4:4).
4. Jesus is that living Word.
5. He says in John 5:
1. “As the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the
Son also to have life in himself” (verse 26).
5. Jesus told the crowd:
1. “You are seeking me . . . because you ate your fill of the
loaves” (John 6:26).
6. What is it that we seek from Jesus?
1. We often seek what we can get from Jesus rather than seeking
Jesus himself.
2. We seek those feel-good things.
3. We seek things on every other level than the spiritual.
4. In describing Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand, John says:
1. “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given
thanks, he distributed them” (6:11).
2. “When he had given thanks.”
3. Thanksgiving is not just about giving thanks “for”
something but giving thanks “to” someone.
4. Giving thanks is about relationship with the giver.
5. God is the Giver.
6. We are the receivers.
7. In today’s Epistle, Paul reminds us that Jesus feeds and
nourishes his Body, the Church, to build it up in
faith, love, and
1. “Grace was given to each one of us according to the
measure of Christ’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7).
8. Grace to live life fully, faithfully, and eternally with
God, in relationship with God.

1. We often feel threatened by so many things:
1. aging,
2. health concerns,
3. hostility,
4. antagonism (from the world around us and the people in it),
5. weakness,
6. brokenness,
7. failure,
8. and regret.
9. More than anything else, we need to feed on Jesus in faith.
10. When we feed on Jesus in faith through Word and Sacrament, we
live eternally.
11. We live and die in the same confidence and assurance as the
dying man and his family in the story with which we began.


1. In my home state of Michigan, the COVID-19 “Stay Home, Stay Safe”
executive orders were exceptionally stringent and restrictive
just as they
were here.
1. Businesses, stores, restaurants, and bars were closed.
2. Everything considered unsafe and nonessential was shut down.
3. Unemployment was at an all-time high.
4. Some things were in short supply:
1. toilet paper,
2. hand sanitizer,
3. and even bread.
5. People were:
1. fearful,
2. angry,
3. anxious,
4. uncertain,
5. frustrated,
6. bored,
7. ready for it to be over,
8. impatient for things to return to normal.
6. But there was a new normal in place, and normal as we once knew
it was a long way off.
7. Churches were closed, limited to streaming services.
8. Zoom meetings became a new way of life.
9. But people missed being able to gather.
10. And they were largely observing a fast with respect to the
Lord’s Supper, just as we were here in Arkansas.

1. Jesus says:
1. “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).
2. He gave his life on a cross for you, for me, for all, so that
we might have eternal life.
3. So even then, in and through it all, there was no shortage of
“the bread of life.”
4. In and through all things, there is no shortage of “the bread
of life.”
5. This bread is ours to eat by faith.
6. Eternal life is ours in Christ.
7. Nothing can rob us of it. Amen.

1. Let us pray:

4 Yet is God here?

Oh, yes! By Word and promise clear,

In mouth and soul

He makes us whole—

Christ, truly present in this meal.

O taste and see—the Lord is real.

5 Is this for me?

I am forgiven and set free!

I do believe

That I receive

His very body and His blood.

O taste and see—the Lord is good.

Text: © 1991 Fred and Jean Baue. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License
no. 110000247

1. 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love
of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

1. The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

1. In the Name of the Father…Amen.